Young sisters from Aiken helping feed their community

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) – A pair of young sisters are gaining national recognition for growing fruits and vegetables to help feed their community.

We went to find out how their partnerships with organizations like Golden Harvest and other food banks are helping change lives.

For 7-year-old Eva and 12-year-old Norah Drumming, right in their backyard, fresh crops are growing in every corner.

They have cucumbers, melons, broccoli, potatoes, and more. It looks so good; even they can’t help themselves.

“I kind of like to eat it,” said Eva.

But there’s a reason they’re growing so many healthy foods.

Nora said: “It’s just to help out elderly people and people in need in the community.”

They’re part of Katie’s Krops, a youth-based nonprofit dedicated to ending hunger and helping the less fortunate. They were named National Grower of the Year and are the only first-year growers who have ever received this honor.

Selma Sullivan is their grandmother. She said, “I think it’s very important because it really teaches them to give and love others, and it’s teaching them how to live off the land.”

On Sundays, they’re at church handing out the produce. Even their neighbors get a surprise.

“We just love to see the smiles on their faces,” said Sullivan.

The Drumming sisters are helping to solve a bigger issue; food insecurity. Golden Harvest Food Bank says they’ve given out almost 3 million meals in Aiken County.

It’s all hands-on deck to help everyone in need.

Eva said: “I think it’s generous and kind.”

For generations, this family has done this, and they don’t plan to stop anytime soon.

Sullivan said: “We loved it, and we’re just keeping it going.”

Norah ~ South Carolina

For Norah Drumming, a 12-year-old rising 7th grader at Aiken Intermediate School in Aiken, South Carolina, growing for Katie’s Krops is a family affair. Her Aunt Shania was the first in her family member to join grow with us. She spent seven years tending the garden beds in her mother Selma Sullivan’s backyard after they heard about the organization from a church member. Although this is Norah’s first year as an official gardener, she has been helping with the garden since she was three. That tradition is being passed on with seven-year-old sister Eva, who will be in the 3rd grade at East Aiken School of the Arts this fall, and is now helping Norah.

The girls, assisted by their grandmother, are growing a variety of fruits and vegetables in the raised beds and pots that they’ve affectionately nicknamed “Pickers Patch.” These include carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, soybeans, radishes, lettuce, spinach, and bok choy. Cucamelons are a first-time crop this year, but Chinese noodle beans are out. Even though they were successful last year, the recipients weren’t used to eating them, as they have a rubbery texture. So they’ve been replaced by pole-style green beans grown on an archway.

Those recipients include elderly members of their church, Shaws Creek Baptist in nearby Trenton, and their neighbor Miss Mary. Norah and Eva supply baskets of their ripe produce and bouquets that are grown both for pollination and giving. They also share some dozen and a half egg that their hens produce each week.

Living in USDA growing zone 8 provides many advantages, such as an extended growing season. It’s not without its problems, though. For example, a late frost killed all the blueberry blossoms this spring, and deer ate the peas. Squash bugs have damaged some plants as well.

Norah and Eva both said they like to help others when asked why they do it. Norah and Selma have found it to be a good bonding experience, and Eva said it’s fun to be outside and see things like the cats lying in the flowers. College student Shania still helps when she can, and parents Demetrick and Mandy support and encourage their daughter’s passion for gardening and giving back.

The garden has been so successful over the years that they’ve inspired their church to start its garden. The children at the church are now learning how to garden, too, and loving it.

June 16th Katie’s Krops Dinner

We will host a Katie’s Krops Dinner on Thursday, June 16th. The to-go dinner will be served at Summerville Baptist Church, 417 Central Avenue in Summerville, South Carolina. We will start serving at 4:30 pm and end at 6 pm, or when all meals have been distributed, whichever comes first.

If you live in Summerville and do not have transportation, are homebound, or have a medical condition that prevents you from attending, we may be able to help. Please contact Delivery@KatiesKrops.com. Our volunteer delivery coordinator will assist you. Please reach out with your full name, complete address, phone number, number of meals needed, and reason for needing delivery.

Our dinner is always free. Donations are always appreciated.

Sad News to Share~ Seeds of Change program has been suspended

We share that we have to suspend our ‘Seeds of Change’ program with a heavy heart. Many letters with seed packets were returned when we visited our post office box today.

Before launching this year’s program, we visited our post office to determine how much postage would be needed to mail each envelope with four seeds packets included. The envelope was open, and it was clear that we were mailing seeds which we have done for three years now.

When the envelopes were returned today stating that an additional $3.72 was needed per envelope, we questioned why. Unfortunately, we are now being told that seeds must be mailed in a mailer, not an envelope, and the cost to mail will be over $4.00.

Sadly due to this development, we cannot continue the program as it has been run for three years. It is heartbreaking that we cannot honor the requests and help families across the country plant gardens this year. We simply cannot afford this massive increase in postage. We will look at new ways to continue our Seeds of Change program that does not involve mailing them directly to your home. Again, we are very sorry.

Katie’s Krops Opens First Outdoor Classroom

SUMMERVILLE — This year, a town nonprofit welcomed its first community garden outdoor classroom. To keep it free, the organization is looking for a sponsor.

“It’s something that’s been a dream of ours for a very long time,” said Katie Stagliano, the founder of Katie’s Krops, an organization dedicated to building community gardens to support food giveaways.

At its flagship garden at Crossroads Community Church on Gahagan Road in Summerville, Katie’s Krops is giving people the opportunity to sign up for classes like gardening basics, yoga, art and safety.

Currently, all of the classes are free as a way to make sure everyone who is interested has access, organizers said. To fund needed classroom supplies, the nonprofit needs additional donations.

According to Stagliano, the people at Crossroads Community Church are what inspired them to do the current outdoor classroom. Another source of inspiration was the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the past year, she said, children have been dealing with extended periods doing online schoolwork. And while schools in Dorchester District 2 have made a full return to in-person classes, a lot of parents have chosen to keep their children in the district’s virtual school program.

Organizers said they see the new outdoor classroom as a way for children to have fun learning while being able to practice social distancing.

Some of the classes include a safety talk from a Summerville police officer and a special story time with Stagliano.

“The availability of such a valuable resource is very exciting for me,” said Lisa Turocy, Katie’s Krops master gardener. “One of my personal goals is to continuously find ways of working with children in an educational environment.”

 

Read the Full Article Here!

The Bonnie Plants Third Grade Cabbage Program~ Sign up today & help inspire the next generation of gardeners

When I was in the third-grade a tiny cabbage seedling forever transformed my life and sent me on the most remarkable path. That cabbage seedling was a part of the Bonnie Plants Third Grade Cabbage Program, a free program designed to inspire the next generation of gardeners. And inspire it did!

I am excited to share The Bonnie Plants 3rd Grade Cabbage Program is relaunching in 2021. I would personally like to invite third-grade teachers and parents across the country to sign up! It is a hands-on science lesson, students will learn about backyard ecology and plant life cycles by growing colossal cabbages and reaping hefty harvests. Students also vie for “Best in State” bragging rights — with a $1,000 scholarship awarded to one student in each participating state and perhaps be a life-changing moment for a third grader as it was for me.

Bonnie Plants has designed the 3rd Grade Cabbage program with COVID-19 safety in mind. With the added stress of learning during the pandemic – getting outside to connect with gardening is more important than ever for the physical and mental well-being of students.

Participating in the 3rd Grade Cabbage Program is completely free! Simply click on the link below to register your class or student by March 1st, 2021. The cabbages will be delivered by mail during your selected shipping window. After you’ve signed up, Bonnie Plants will follow up with instructions just in time for planting, growing, and harvesting, and a ton of other useful resources to help students learn and succeed along the way. For more information, visit: www.bonniecabbageprogram.com

Happy Growing,

Katie

Join Us for the First Katie’s Krops To-Go Dinner of 2021

Join us for our first Katie’s Krops Dinner of the new year on Thursday, January 7th. On the menu chicken parmesan over pasta with a tossed green salad and breadsticks fresh from the oven along with homemade desserts. Dinner will be served at 5 pm (earlier is possible). We will continue to host all of our dinners drive-thru for everyone’s safety. Our dinners are held at Summerville Baptist Church located at 417 Central Avenue in Summerville. We are truly blessed to partner with them to end hunger in our community. Please spread and the word that we are back to serve our neighbors in 2021.

Pirates’ Patch Community Garden ~ West Carrollton High School, Ohio

Since 2016 students, age 14 to 19, at West Carrollton High have been growing with Katie’s Krops. They are having a tremendous impact on their community by sharing their harvest with St. Vincent de Paul Homeless Shelter.

“Not only have our students gained self-confidence, pride, and community service, they have gained a life long skill and can grow to produce for themselves and their families. We have learned the power of a seed. We gain pride and a sense of wellbeing,” shared Judi Brooks, Garden Coordinator.

Their garden is a place where connections are made when working side by side; students and adults share life stories and gain insight from one and other. A listening ear can open many doors. You never know what each day in the garden grows.  

THIS PROGRAM IS CLOSED FOR 2021 Grow the Seeds of Hope & Change ~ Our New Seed Sharing Program for Children Out of School

THIS PROGRAM IS CLOSED FOR 2021

In these challenging times, Katie’s Krops is spreading the seeds of hope and change. Let’s plant the seeds of change and help our neighbors in need as we enter unchartered territory. We want to share our seeds with children across the country. Now is an excellent time for our Southern friends to get outside and start gardening, and for our Northern friends to start seeds indoors.

We will send seeds to 400 people who email Katie@KatiesKrops.com to help us grow a better tomorrow. Please include your full name and mailing address when you email Katie@KatiesKrops.com with the subject line “Seeds of Change.” Gardening is an excellent activity for children who are out of school. We can be the change!

Please note, due to restrictions we cannot ship seeds outside of the United States.

Together we can grow hope! All it takes is one seed.

Join us in the Garden on Saturday, January 18th. Kick-off the New Year by Helping End Hunger.

Join us in the new Katie’s Krops flagship garden as we start construction on raised beds. In addition to building the new beds, we will have other garden tasks that we would love to complete to prepare for spring planting. We hope you can join us. This opportunity has been made possible by Youth Service America, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and the Corporation for National and Community Service. This is an excellent time to earn garden hours to be able to volunteer at our Katie’s Krops Dinners.

When: Saturday, January 18th – 9 am to 1 pm

Where: The Katie’ Krops Flagship Garden is located at Crossroads Community Church, 505 Gahagan Rd. in Summerville, South Carolina. The garden is located at the rear of the church. Volunteers are required to wear closed-toed shoes. We recommend bringing a bottle of water and garden gloves in you have them. For our young volunteers, we always ask that an adult accompanies them during their time in the garden.

Please email Katie@KatiesKrops.com with questions. Thank you for your support.